Where there is a will there is a way

Monday, March 21, 2011

HOW TO MAKE JONES "MUSH" (Ground wheat porridge)

We cooked alot more than this at a time in the Jones family, but this should cook enough mush for a modern small family. If not, cook more next time!
1 Grind wheat yourself, using an electric or hand-grinder. You will use 2 cups of ground wheat, 1 part wheat to 3 parts water.

I don't bother separating out the white flour, but for "real mush" you would sift out the flour and cook the rest for the porridge. That's what we always had growing up - just the rough outer part of the wheat. It was pretty rough, but very healthy. Now if you keep it simple and leave in the white flour, it's "luxury mush"!
2 Boil 6 cups of water on a medium sized pot on the stove, adding a pinch of salt.

3 When the water starts to boil, sprinkle in the 2 cups of ground wheat a little at a time so the boiling water surrounds the falling bits and there is no clumping. Whisk while you add.

4 After the mush is in, don't let it boil over. Turn it down. Cook for about 10 minutes. (You can leave a lid on it slightly ajar, and go get ready in the mornings. )

It's easy! It does need some time to cool as it took some energy to cook it. Dish it out into bowls and top with sugar and milk.

Make your life easier - after you've cooked mush, leave the pot to soak full of water in the sink and it will be easy to clean later.

Growing up with the Joneses
When I was growing up my family saved money by cooking wheat porridge every morning to feed to the hordes (8 kids). Not the usual porridge eaten now - my parents had a big old grinder/separator our basement. They would grind wheat that they had purchased in bulk. There were large wooden drawers where flour would be separated from the outer skin of the wheat, the white flour. Our morning porridge consisted entirely of this rough ground up outer hull, cooked on the stove, then eaten with milk and sugar.

It was a very rough porridge to eat, but cheap, very healthy as it is rich in vitamins* (and of course fibre). We didn't mind at all, but when our cousins who would come and visit they weren't used to it and they would cry at having to eat it. (I found out years later that my mother, not being raised as tough as my father, would feed us mush and get us out the door to school, then make herself something different for breakfast.)

Nowadays I think it's pretty cool. Sometimes for a change my parents would make porridge out of ground corn, "corn mush", or "white mush" which I loved (made out of wheat but not the hull?). My parents are Mormon, and in their community, due to their scientific and do-it-yourself nature, they are basically food storage experts. I can't tell you all the bean and grain varieties we had (along with canned fruit and vegetables), they had an inventory list on the computer to keep track of their stores. Mormons encourage their people to have a one year supply of food at all times in case of possible emergency or hard times, and my parents actually did it.

Anyways, I occasionally grind up some wheat kernels and make mush. It's "luxury" mush, I keep the white flour in it. I use a little antique hand grinder originally used for coffee that I found in a junk shop and restored, about the size of a jewellery box. The ground wheat comes out in a small drawer at the bottom. Unlike sensitive modern contraptions, this simpler metal grinder design is robust and still works.

Our family had such a cool experience with it recently, where I ground up some mush and fed it to everyone for breakfast when we were having a few days of cash shortage. Instead of playing around with money that was allocated for other purposes (spending money we didn't have) I baked a few loaves of bread instead of buying it, and made mush instead of buying breakfast cereal. It was such a cool thing to do something myself, with my hands. Calming to grind it, and sprinkle the ground wheat into the frothing boiling water boiling on the stove as my father had taught me. Such things are greatly underrated.

*My mother always said it was rich in Vitamin E. I just looked it up, and it's not only rich in Vitamin E but has many others including B vitamins (folate, niacin, thiamin B6), calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, protein, selenium and zinc. Wheat germ also contains phytosterols which lower cholesterol, promoting good heart health. And of course, lots of fibre!

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